Wednesday, January 25, 2006

NYT: Lichtblau snoozes while Gonzales rewrites history

In this morning's New York Times, Eric Lichtblau's "Gonzales Invokes Actions of Other Presidents in Defense of U.S. Spying" informs you of a few things.

First [off] Alberto Gonzales didn't get the play book which is why he invokes a comparison between Bully Boy and FDR. No, it's not because FDR was actually elected to multiple terms. Good guess. It's that he apparently forgot to invoke Bully Boy's alleged fave philosopher.

The other thing it informs you of, what some might argue should be the lead and "invoked" in the headline, is this:

More than two dozen students in the audience responded by turning their backs on Mr. Gonzales and standing stone-faced before live television cameras for the duration of his half-hour speech. Five protesters in the group donned black hoods and unfurled a banner, quoting Benjamin Franklin, that read, "Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither."

That's what's called news. "News." Say it with us, New York Times. News isn't Alberto repeating the same talking points yet again. News is the reaction these talking points have from an audience hearing them. News. "Matter that is newsworthy." News.

Lichtblau (or "Lichtblau") offers alternatives to Alberto's spin. Possibly not forcefully enough.
But was Lichtblau asleep? Was everyone in the administration?

The newest of the newbie spins is that the 72 hour aspect of FISA (you don't need a warrant ahead of time, you can start spying and apply within 72 hours of the time the spying begins) is that it's just too much trouble because, golly gee, so many people are involved. Let's go to the article and warning, you're about to be in deep spin:

Intelligence officers "would have to get the sign-off of lawyers at the N.S.A. that all provisions of F.I.S.A. have been satisfied, then lawyers in the Department of Justice would have to be similarly satisfied, and finally as attorney general I would have to be satisfied that the search meets the requirements of F.I.S.A.," he said. "And then we would have to be prepared to follow up with a full F.I.S.A. application within the 72 hours."

Oh, is that how it works Albie? Well just on the face of it, it must cause problems from an administration that wants to ape their leader who never missed a vacation prospect he could pass up. But let's remember something here, something Lichtblau somehow forgot (as well as the administration):

"The decision on whether someone is believed to be linked to Al Qaeda and should be monitored is left to a shift supervisor at the agency, the White House said."

The White House said it. (If these walls could talk?) And guess what, they said it to Lichtblau and James Risen. And the Times ran it. It's from January 1, 2006 -- "Justice Deputy Resisted Parts Of Spy Program."

So which is it? What lie are we supposed to believe today?

Albie Gonzales is spinning to save his ass and his boss' ass. There's no reason reporters have to present it as news. And there's no reason in the world that this new "rewrite" can't be called out. "The White House said" a shift supervisor was making the call. The paper reported that. Now, weeks later, Albie backs off that to respin and apparently no one notices.

On the subject of Alito, the Times seems a little slow. The Associated Press is already blaring that Alito will be confirmed short of a filibuster. For why yesterday's vote mattered, see Rebecca's entry. The Ben Nelsons who decide that they can break party ranks will do so now without the cover of "Well, even the judiciary committee members were split on the nomination and they reviewed it carefully!"

We need a filibuster.

Kevin noted Kim Gandy's latest and asked that the excerpt be from the last half of the column due to the links provided there. From Gandy's "Your Silence Will Not Protect You" (Below the Belt, NOW):

We know the dangers. And we know that our Senators know the dangers. So it's time to call on them to stand up for us, and to use every weapon in their arsenal--including the filibuster. Simply voting "no" on Alito's confirmation is a meaningless gesture (you're not sure why? Find out here!). So senators can make all the speeches they want, but unless they take a stand for our rights by supporting a filibuster (which, after all, only requires the nominee to get 60 out of 100 votes), their "no" vote will count for nothing. (As my high school chemistry teacher used to say: if you're not part of the solution, you are part of the precipitate.)
Last week, in between meetings with Senators and staff, I wrote a letter to every member of the Senate who has held himself or herself out as a supporter of women's rights. In that letter, I said: "Your commitment to women's rights is hollow if you will not fight to preserve them. . . . We believe that this nomination and its threat to privacy and autonomy and decency and respect for all of us is cause for a declaration of 'extraordinary circumstances' and a Senate filibuster."
It's time for us foot-soldiers of democracy to swing into action (or really, to swing faster, since I know how hard you all are working!). It never hurts to repeat a good message--after all, psychologists tell us that the surest way to get someone to learn something is repetition, repetition, repetition. So keep up the calling!
Call your senator's offices and urge your friends and colleagues to call! Send emails! Some good messages and talking points are also available.

Thanks to Gina and Krista for all their hard work. Thanks to the community. And thanks to the members with sites for their work:

Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude
The Third Estate Sunday Review
Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man
Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills)
Mikey Likes It!
Like Maria Said Paz
Cedric's Big Mix
Trina's Kitchen
The Daily Jot

Elaine's planning to take the day off and Mike may not know it yet, but he's not posting at his regular time. (Blogger will be down during that time according to the message.) Everyone's supposed to be taking time to regroup. Hopefully they will. We'll be posting here and I had intended a long thank you (and a highlight of a joint entry but we'll note that later today) but time's running out this morning.

Remember to listen, watch or read Democracy Now! today.

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